Don't Neglect Your Skills

A reader concurs with Peter Varhol about the need to keep up your skills; also, a reader argues that technology isn't an end in itself, although developers often forget this.

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Don't Neglect Your Skills
Peter Varhol's article on the need to stay current with the technologies of the day and not get stuck with doing things the way you always have, struck a chord with me [Guest Opinion, "Expand Your Skills, Or Perish," VSM March 2006].

His story about a Borland Turbo C developer who didn't want to use anything else, and clung to it stubbornly in the face of an obviously shifting computer landscape, reminds me a lot of the developers in the Microsoft universe who refuse to adapt to .NET. You might think I'm referring specifically to VB6 users, but there are people who use C/C++ who fall into this category, too. I understand why people want to continue programming within their comfort zone, but managed code and service-oriented apps are clearly the direction our industry is headed in. This isn't true only in the Microsoft world, but for developers everywhere, whatever tools or frameworks you use at the moment.

I think there is a lesson in Peter's account for all of us about getting too tied to any particular approach (including .NET), whatever it is, and whoever it is that makes it. Thank you for the reminder, and keep putting out what I consider the best magazine on the topic of Visual Studio development.

James Maier
Beaverton, Ore.

Technology Isn't the End
Patrick Meader's column, "Keeping Fun in Perspective," brought back a lot of memories for me, not all of them good [Editor's Note, VSM March 2006].

I've worked at several enterprise businesses where the emphasis was on developing with the most up-to-date technologies, where all too often the technologies were used for their own sake, rather than for what end benefit using these technologies could provide the companies' end users.

It's true that many of these technologies are fun to use, but what's fun for us as developers often doesn't translate into tangible benefits for the end users. What happens in the real world is that you create hard-to-maintain applications that don't really provide any more functionality than the app that existed before.

I think I'm old enough now that I've grown to accept that this is just the way technology workers are primed to think, since I've seen this behavior so often. Every couple of years or so, someone wants to rip and replace everything you have now with something shinier and sexier. Sometimes it's the same technology with a new name.

William Abernathy
Corpus Christi, Tex.

More VB.NET Code, Please
I found it interesting that Patrick Meader spoke about Microsoft's lack of VB code samples in the past [Editor's Note, "Microsoft Brews Some Cider," VSM February 2006], when VSM itself has moved so strongly away from its own VB roots.

VSM features regular articles on SQL Server and ASP.NET, and somehow splits the difference with articles that feature C# or VB.NET. If VSM did nothing else, I wish it would move to provide all its code samples in both VB.NET and C#, wherever possible. Given that the magazine features only four or five articles per issue, it would provide developers who use either language with more content suited to them in each and every issue.

Finally, Patrick himself notes that there are far more VB developers than C# developers. Shouldn't it stand to reason that VSM should put more of its emphasis on providing VB.NET code examples?

Shane Merriweather
received by e-mail

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